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Lesson From Africa

The sun rose early today, perhaps in anticipation of the long day ahead, and it was hot… oh so hot. Thankfully, there was a strong, cooling breeze blowing across the golden savannah as my jeep bounced along for miles following a large herd of gazelles happily skipping along enjoying the heat. With my camera at the ready, I watched and waited for the right moment when they would tire or find some oasis of tasty grass to nibble on. As they slowed to a stop, so did I. I grabbed the camera and pointed at my target. His face through the viewfinder was not as I expected though. He looked confused and anxious. I scanned in the direction he was looking and spotted the source of his discomfort. A yellow mane and tail poked up through the tall grass and crept slowly toward us. The gazelle and his party suddenly turned to make their break as I reached for my rifle. There was no time for thinking. The lion raced toward us with a hungry, deadly gleam in his eyes. I raised my weapon, finger on the trigger, sighted it, then took a deep breath and gently as possible squeezed off a shot. The lion howled and twisted around. He had only been grazed. I quickly readied my gun again but the lion decided I was not worth it and retreated. Thank goodness!

Such were the dreams of a five year old child sent off to take another unwanted though needed afternoon nap. As always, a nap required making a tent out of my blanket by pushing it up into the wire mesh that held the bunk bed above mine. Some days it was a fort. Some days it was a rocket ship. Today it was mosquito netting on an African safari. In it’s safe folds, I was immune to the giant African mosquitos that carried the yellow sickness. I would not be itching tonight from their multiple, uninvited bites.

Living in Texas and now in my senior years, I had forgotten this lesson from childhood or had ignored it. After all, only people camping in the Congo or Amazon use mosquito netting, right? I hate Texas summers, not just because of the heat, but also because of all the bugs that come out, especially mosquitos.  I HATE mosquitoes. They bite multiple times making you itch like crazy and nothing really takes the itch away for more than a few minutes. They bite in the worst possible places. The minute they see you start healing, they stage another coup. They plan and wait till you are asleep to bite you more. They know you can’t wear DEET 24 hours a day safely.  Mosquitos are evil!

The other day someone in one of my camping tips groups mentioned putting mosquito netting over the bed in their RV. It lit up my light bulb! It hadn’t occurred to me that you could do that in a non-third world country let alone in an RV. Right to Amazon.com I went to check the possibilities. I know, “Amazon”. How appropriate. I found numerous vendors with netting in all different colors. Checking the reviews, I found that not all had doors in them which is certainly important if you have to get out of bed fast as I do. The cheapest one would not do but I found one from Octorose at a reasonable price ($20) and ordered it immediately using Amazon Prime for fast shipping. Two days later, it arrived complete with a ceiling hook.  I mounted the hook in the ceiling into a stud and hung the net from it. It is large enough to cover a king size bed from a normal height house ceiling so no problem there. To keep it off my face and away from my arms so the little b$%^& can’t nail me through the netting, I added some hooks to the wall behind my bed to lift the netting up into a square around the bed. The door faces the end of the bed to crawl in and out. The netting still allows the cool breeze through from the air conditioning vent and fan in my room.

I can sleep again now that the fear of being attacked is gone. I crawl through the sheer curtain onto three inches of gel foam cloud and close the world out behind me. I am five years old again every night and loving it! Come winter, I can easily store it away until needed again or it may become a snow cave to hide from the Abominable Snowman. We’ll see what happens…

mosquito nettingmosquito netting





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